Closing More Logistics Leads with Kara Brown [rebroadcast]
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Are you looking to boost your marketing game in freight and logistics? Don’t miss the newest episode of Everything is Logistics where host Blythe Brumleve interviews supply chain marketing expert Kara Brown. 

They dive into proven tactics to generate more leads, close more deals, and make your marketing efforts pay off. Kara shares specific strategies including how to leverage LinkedIn, pick the right marketing tech stack, generate warm leads, and much more. 

Tune in now to get actionable tips to take your freight marketing to the next level.

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Show Transcript

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Blythe Brumleve: 0:05

Welcome into another episode of Everything Is Logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight. I am your host, wife Bremleave, and I'm happy to welcome in Kara Brown. She is CEO at Lead Coverage and we are going to be diving into probably both of our favorite topics, and that is marketing in logistics. So, Kara, welcome into the show.

Kara Brown: 0:24

Thanks so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.

Blythe Brumleve: 0:28

Absolutely. I cannot wait to have this discussion. I told you sort of before that I had a million questions Right down to actually tell myself to stop writing so many questions, so let's just go ahead and dive into it. Give us a sense of your career background and how you came to founding the company Lead Coverage.

Kara Brown: 0:44

Yeah, I've got it down to like a two minute science. Simple, pretty short. I was one of the first employees at Echo Global Logistics, super proud of that, so fun. I was on the floor as we spun the whole thing up and Doug and team walked over one day and said hey, you want to write the S1? We're going to go public. And I was like, yeah, boss, I don't know what that is, but I will Google it and figure it out. So they're so kind to let me be a part of that experience. So my name is actually on the IPO press release for Echo in 2009, which was awesome. Oh, wow, yeah. So post IPO got picked up by Osborn Hesse Logistics, which then became Geodis. Post Geodis back to Chicago, popped out kids and then moved to Atlanta and here in Atlanta sort of restarted a consulting practice. So my husband said to me hey, you know, you're happiest when you work for yourself, right? And I was like, yeah, let's try this again. And then I learned the statistic that less than 2% of female founders will ever break a million dollars in revenue. And I said that sounds good, hold my beer. So we did that in about eight months with an all-female team. It was super fun. The early days were zero to one, was wild and so many women and pink walls, and it was awesome. We do know how our men for sure. And then Will Harroway, my partner and I, sort of combined efforts. He was doing PR and I was doing marketing, but only in supply chain, and so we were sharing clients back and forth and finally said this is kind of silly, let's just do this together. And so in 2018, 19, we made it official, and so we do very specific work, only in supply chain. So Will and team do all things public relations and analyst relations, so this is anything that touches the press, like yourself, as well as analysts. So this is Gartner, forester, morningstar, sort of. Even the second and third tier analysts have a lot of sway in our space. So, being able to use that for marketing, my team does the marketing and then we also have a team that will make the first cold call, so you can use us for the entire process, and we're a HubSpot diamond shop, which just means that we know a lot about HubSpot, but a little different about us is we don't do any creative, so most agencies, even folks in our space, are like making websites or picking the photos of the trucks that go on your cell sheets. That's not our jam. We are all about math. So for us it's about ARPR demand gen revenue operations, which is sort of the new term for sales ops, and making the first out.

Blythe Brumleve: 3:09

I love that you said that you don't do any creative work, because that is probably the most annoying part historically of my role is web design, because you can never tell people's preferences. It's always just something, can you make it pop or whatever, and it's just annoying. So I recently just cut web design out and it's strictly website hosting Best decision I ever made. I don't know why I did not do this sooner. So I love that you said that, because people are just they get a little crazy when it comes to their creative rightfully so, sometimes wrongfully so.

Kara Brown: 3:39

Yeah, and I think they're really, really solid creative teams out there, and I think you don't need to know supply chain to know great design. You do need to know supply chain to know great copy. You need to know what press to get in front of. You need to know what is going to resonate with your ideal customer profile. Are they a shipper? Are they a carrier? What kind of verticals are they in Right modes? Do they do? But when it comes to the website, you know, and with WordPress, as ubiquitous as it is, you can outsource the WordPress website situation for a couple hundred bucks and it's just there's not a lot of become a commodity, Same thing as design, right? So Canva and now a chat, GPT too. Like there's just so many opportunities for people to get economies of scale about having to spend money on it. So where we can deliver value is aggregating all of that and showing the math of marketing. So how and this is actually the first conversation that you and I had I was like I will put all of my clients on your podcast. If we can actually show ROI, like let's work on it together, which we are, and so we are all about delivering actual ROI so we can track from public relations and analyst relations. You can track how much ROI you're getting from analyst relations, from your Gartner relationship, which can feel expensive all the way down to the bottom line, and the democratization of the tools now in all things Mar-Tac. So that's HubSpot demand-based six cents sales and tells. Zoom info really lets you be able to see some really sexy data about who is interested in buying from you and, frankly, who is not.

Blythe Brumleve: 5:12

Well, when you talk about all of these different tools, is it overwhelming for your clients to know that all of these tools are in all of these different places, or are you bringing that data together? So it kind of makes it, I guess, much more of like that macro level, that eagle-eye view of seeing how their marketing is performing.

Kara Brown: 5:31

Yeah. So if you hire us, we'll do it for you, right. But if you're going to do it yourself, the average B2B tech stack marketing technology stack is 22 pieces of technology and that's not a caribou number. So this is your website, hubspot, I don't know Leadfeeder, demandbase, like just the volume of tools that your marketing team is coming to you saying, hey, we need this. Or your sales team, right, we need sales loft. How is sales loft different than HubSpot? What does HubSpot have that Salesforce doesn't have? Why do we need Salesforce and Part-O Like, why don't they work together? Because none of them work together, right. So, yeah, it's super overwhelming For a lot of our clients. They spend time, like significant amounts of time and energy, picking the right tech stack. Oftentimes they pick the wrong one, which is kind of painful, but we're tech agnostic so we'll help you out. If you're a Part-O at Salesforce shop or if you've chosen Zoho and Dynamics, which is not a combo that I suggest, we'll help you and we do a lot of moving from one system onto HubSpot. It's sort of become the middle market CRM and marketing automation system of record. It's really easy to use. We can set it up for you and you can have sort of a junior person run it. Once it's set up, it's getting more complicated the longer it's been out, but still it's the best tool in the market. So yes, to answer your question, it can be super, super overwhelming, and even these quote unquote simple tools are getting really sophisticated. The other side of that, though, blythe, is the amount of data you can get on your potential buyer before they even know that you're sort of checking into them before you make a phone call is incredible. So if you know how to harness the marketing technology stack and you know how to get in front of the right people, the amount of data you can have is unbelievable.

Blythe Brumleve: 7:23

I think for a lot of just the marketing ecosphere in logistics in particular, it feels like something that has been severely underinvested historically. Do you see that landscape shifting over the last few years, or is a lot of companies just still kind of stuck in? If it ain't broke, why fix it?

Kara Brown: 7:42

Well, I'd like to tell you that the smart ones invest in people like me. So, yeah, we've grown pretty fast. We've had some great clients. We've had some clients that don't get it. Even when they hire us, you can see that the leaders are like, yes, let's hire this woman, she clearly knows what she's doing. Then we get in and the rest of the team is just sort of behind. Just they haven't quite caught up with the rest of us, or the tech is too much or they're stuck in. Are we using the word digitization or digitalization? Nobody cares, just so we're on the same page. Nobody cares what your copy says, because they're not reading it anyway. So I think, yes, we're seeing a turn. I think what's? I'm really kind of excited to see how things turn out at the end of sort of like 2024. There were a bunch of really smart folks hired in the pandemic in supply chain that never would have been hired before. Right, that never would have given supply chain sort of a second look. I'm sure you're hearing this from your CEOs that come on the podcast about venture capital and private equity. That never gave supply chain a second look. You're seeing the same thing in the marketing talent pool. So two things are happening there. One is the talent available for brands, like for just supply chain people in general is solid, like there's a really nice pipeline of folks who are getting laid off now but also for us finding talent because we only do supply chain as an agency. We're in Atlanta, so every Atlanta Agency has Coca-Cola as a client, like every single one. We don't have UPS as a client because they're not really our target market and so people will come up, will find us and they'll be like oh well, ups must be your big client. We're like no, and not even like. I know a little bit right and so in like our world, the hardcore sort of B2B Supply chain that we do is becoming sexier and sexier and people sort of understand what it is now. So your question was how is it sort of changing the the landscape of marketing and supply chain? I think smart executives are investing and I think the talent is now interested in coming into the supply chain marketplace like to never before.

Blythe Brumleve: 9:48

Yeah, it definitely feels like it was the ever-given. Getting stuck in the Suez canal was sort of the catalyst or the casual audience to know just what the hell you know a global supply chain is. And so for a lot of your clients you, I was listening to a video and you said you, you service 3 pl's and freight forwarders, and then also us, a lot of the shipping carriers, and so I, are your marketing tactics different for each segment? I imagine some things are, but is it mostly the same approach for each one of those segments of the supply chain?

Kara Brown: 10:19

Yeah, I mean, great marketing is great marketing. So it follows a very, very simple sort of matrix share, good news, track interest, follow-up. Pretty simple, right. You have to go from unknown to known. So if no one knows who you are when you pick up the phone, your phone calls are gonna go through because no one knows who you are. So you got to build some credibility. People like you help a lot with this, right getting our clients onto the right podcast, getting them profiled by the right analysts, getting them into the right press so that when someone goes to your website there's credibility there. And then emails and phone calls and LinkedIn and all of the sort of demand gen tactics that we use. Track interest is really all things making sure that you are talking to the right person and that you know that they're interested in what you're saying. So this all comes down to one question Do you own your TAM? So what I mean by that is do you own in your system I don't care if it's sales force, zoho, house, about whatever it is Do you own every single record that could potentially buy from you? And I went. When I use the word record, I mean email address. Human right, they're not leads because they don't know who you are. So they're definitely not leads, but they're records, right? So do you know every single record who could buy from you? And 99.9% of the time, the answer is no, like either. We have a database of 30,000, but we haven't cleaned it since 2011. Shocker. Like none of those are valid. Or yeah, yeah, we know a whole bunch of them and we get it, and we have like 4,000 records on a 400,000 TAM, like just the math around that is like really, really, really important, and most marketers and most supply chain sort of shops just I don't know, it's like kind of a forgotten art of Like the sales team has a list and people are buying lists and they're getting lists and they're not paying attention to what's in them. And then, lastly, is follow-up, and so a lot of times in our space I grew up in a brokerage, right we used to literally take out the phone book and bang out dials, like I remember those days. We have gotten a lot more sophisticated than dialing through a phone book, and so the follow-up is also super important, right? So as long as you get these three pieces correct, you get sharing good news so that your ideal customer profile knows who you are and when they go to look you up, that you have credibility from credible resources, that you are tracking those interested parties against that sharing good news. And then you're following up inside sales, and Harvard did a study in 2017. It's kind of dated but I still like it. That says if you can talk to a prospect within five minutes of them showing you a buying signal, you have a 900 percent better chance of closing a deal than if you wait 10 minutes 900. So you need to Shit tell people your your position, track who is interested in your position and then call them immediately if they're interested. That's really it. The language is different. The ICPs are the ideal. Customer profiles are different. It's a forwarders are going after different folks and brokers and TMS is. I mean, there's 9,000 different types of TMS is to so like. Our clients are all sort of going after different people in the space, but the actual physical structure of how marketing works in today's environment with technology is all the same.

Blythe Brumleve: 13:47

This episode is brought to you by SPI logistics, the premier freight agent and logistics network in North America. Are you currently building your freight brokerages, book a business, and feel that your capabilities are being limited Due to lack of support and access to adequate technology? At SPI logistics, we have the technology, the systems and the back office support to help you succeed If you're looking to take control of your financial future and build your own business with the backing of one of the most successful logistics firms in North America, visit SPI 3plcom to learn more. Wow, that's I five minutes. So how are these people making that? Are they getting alerts? I'm thinking like maybe in HubSpot you get an alert when someone is visiting, visiting your website, or something like that. Is that how they're making these fast connections is?

Kara Brown: 14:36

maybe really bone tracking software. It's exactly how it happens. So the reason it's so important to own your Tam in HubSpot is if Cara Brown visits your website right lifecom, andi Am in your HubSpot HubSpot will tell you that I'm there. I don't have to fill out a form, I don't have to click a button, I just have to literally show up. And if I show up, hubspot will alert you and say Cara Brown is on your website Right now. So I actually have a great story about this. So a million years ago I did an Iron man and I feel like a vegan because, like, I have to say it on every podcast anyway so I had sent a proposal to this guy that I knew a million years ago. This is like this is. This was like the original sort of way we use this, and and he ghosted me on the proposal happens all the time I had I had not yet learned that you don't just send a proposal, that you sit down with someone and walk through the proposal, and so I'm learning all the time, and so I start to see him hit the website. So HubSpot starts sending me alerts that this guy is like clicking all over the place. So he goes to this page and he spends a minute goes to this page. So I finally just picked up the phone and I was like hey. And he was like hey, cara, I was just thinking about you. You sent me a proposal like nine months ago and I think I'm ready and I'm like that's so weird. I was just calling to say Hi and like totally closed the deal. So the short answer is yes, like it works, and If you can connect the interested buyers, hubspot says that only 5% of your total buying market is in market at any given time. So we spray and pray to a hundred percent of the market, looking for the fraction of that market that's actually interested in what we're selling and with the, with the data that's available today and the technology solutions that are available today, you can actually pinpoint that 5% pretty quickly. That the next sort of question you're gonna ask me, or the next, the next, like you know, natural question, is are people doing this Well? And the answer is no, and so I think the, the, the, the teams out there that are doing it really well are, you know, not kind of like hiring agency, like us, but also like connecting sales and marketing. So these marketing campaigns, it's more than just sending out a bunch of batch and blasts right. It's thoughtful, it's Appropriate, it's market specific, it's in an inbox when it's appropriate. And so when they hit that reply button or they hit that yes button, that it doesn't feel like they're being, you know, crammed on someone's throat, but instead it's like oh man, like you've given me enough information now that makes me interested in what you're gonna, what you're selling. Like let's have a conversation, and those usually go really well.

Blythe Brumleve: 17:27

I Love that story and how you brought it like full back full circle. There was another story that you told in another interview where you I think it was the early days of your of your marketing. I think you said it was like 2013 and you started sending out these mass emails and significantly more. It was such a great story because I guess you know truckers in particular really love to get.

Kara Brown: 17:57

Names. This is the actual, the sawbot tech too, right? So this is the early days of a tool called outreach, and I mean, like early days, 2013, and, and I had 25 reps on the floor and eight reps on like a desk, and they were able to use this cool tool and so every night I would send an email out on their behalf and they would get in the morning and they would just reply. So we had this amazing marketing qualified lead rate because people were just replying to our open loads, essentially, and One person on the team kept getting higher MQL rates than the rest of the team over and over again, and it was the only woman, and so I was kind of irritated because I'm doing all the work, she's getting all the accolades and I'm like she's literally doing nothing with responding emails. So I went ahead and turned all the boys into girls. So Joe became Rachel, bob became Sheila was awesome. And then a girlfriend of mine was like well, who are you emailing? And I was like, well, basically, truckers, right, like dispatch and whatever. And she was like turn them into strippers. So we did so we had Bambi and Candy. It was amazing. We ended up with a 68% marketing qualify lead rate and like, crush the quarter. It was awesome. And then the software called and they were like this feels weird to us, like what's going on? They figured out that we were using fake Gmail addresses. They didn't love it, so they shut it down, but it was great while it lasted, but that's, you know, like that's the whole game in marketing which I think is why I love it so much is just try new stuff all the time, right.

Blythe Brumleve: 19:26

Yes, the spaghetti method of throwing something against the wall and see if it sticks.

Kara Brown: 19:31

Yeah, and so you know we're doing things like, like, instead of doing podcasts. Like you're a podcast host, so we will put. We will put our people, our clients, on your podcast, but instead of recommending that our podcast, our clients host a podcast which you can tell us is a ton of work, right? So, instead of hosting it, if you really want to get your message out there, this could be for, like tech companies not necessarily brokers, but like TMS type of providers is do a limited series podcast. Do five podcasts. Have someone like you produce it, because you're really good at producing podcasts and they are not. And then do a limited series. So you have, you know, instead of a series of webinars whichever one sort of webinar out right, since the pandemic, do a series of limited podcasts. If it works for the New York Times, right. The New York Times 1619 podcast, like blue, everything out of the water, right. Like, do it for the company. And if you can find five partners or five really smart people to come on and be a vendor or a partner on that limited series podcast, that gives you content for days I mean days it'll give you content. So months, really, yeah. So trying different stuff, right. Limited series podcast is one trying like. We don't love the LinkedIn and mail inbox, but there is kind of a fun way that we use LinkedIn for our executives and then we like sort of scrape, who's interested in what the executives are saying, throw them into a nurture campaign and sometimes we don't know what's going to work. Sometimes we know exactly what's going to work because it always works like email, but other times we're like let's just try this thing and the clients we have that are willing to sort of like come along with us on this journey of like, let's give it a shot are usually doing really well. My new favorite thing is a tool called propensity, and propensity isn't as an intent tool, so a data intent tool, so it basically tells you who in the marketplace is interested in what you're selling and you can buy it now by the drink. So it used to be really. It still is actually really expensive. So demand based and six cents are these two big tools and they're like a hundred grand a year and you have to have a human to use them and, frankly, they're way too sophisticated for most of our supply chain clients. And so propensity has got a cool solution where he does it in HubSpot and you can do it by the drink, and so we're just trying all these things all the time with all these clients to see what sticks. And then what's really cool is the ability to sort of use that intellectual property across all of the clients. So we're trying this cool thing for a TMS provider, and then we whip it into something different for a broker and like it's all sort of the same stuff, just different ICPs. So it's super fun. We're having a blast. Thanks for thanks for remembering that story, though. That's a good one.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:10

It was such a fantastic story and I was like, oh my God, I wish that I had asked that question originally because it was just such a it was such a great story to tell it. It really is. Just want to add simple change to your marketing can have just a dramatic impact on what you're doing Gender of the email address and also the name.

Kara Brown: 22:28

Sex sells.

Blythe Brumleve: 22:29

It is what it is yeah, we all got to make money somehow. Exactly no, with you had mentioned, you know you mentioned a few times with you know, linkedin strategy. Let's get into the little bit of the LinkedIn focus. And so you are really big. I'm really big on LinkedIn. I know it can be a little bit cringy at times. I think you're really big on LinkedIn as well. So give us a sense of how somebody knows that LinkedIn is important, but how they can get started.

Kara Brown: 22:58

Sure, I'll. Actually I'll give you the whole shebang. My LinkedIn strategy is not a secret. I've talked about it on podcasts before. So we can track about a million bucks in revenue to LinkedIn. And it's not a direct attribution. You can't directly attribute LinkedIn to work, except when someone feels like when someone DMs me on LinkedIn and they're like I like to talk and then we close that deal, like I sort of assume it comes from LinkedIn. Now, maybe they also met me at a trade show or they watched your podcast, like there's many ways you can sort of see me, but I court is sort of good that a one to one, a one to one connection. So my LinkedIn philosophy is post as much as possible, as many times as possible. Be annoying about it, because only a fraction of your audience is going to see what you post anyway, so you might as well post all the time. So my structure is really simple. It's one of the very few things that I do on a regular basis. I'm not really a process person, so I'm kind of a little bit of a place. This is the one thing I don't miss every week, so every Tuesday afternoon, I have a call with a ghostwriter. She's actually a social ghostwriter. These are my words. So I usually send her topics. I went to Harvard a couple of weeks ago and I had a notepad for like notes for the business, and then I had a notepad for like ideas for LinkedIn, and so I just send her topics. She keeps a running list of them and then we go through them and I talk for I don't know five to 10 minutes on each topic. She writes sort of the distilled 200 words, puts them into a Google Google doc, sends them to my team and then my team schedules them. So they're my words. But it takes me like a half an hour or it's a half an hour a week to come up with four podcasts, four posts a week, and then I manage all the comments, I manage all the engagement, right. I probably should be commenting more, but it's just really hard to stay engaged while you're busy and it gets us on a really regular schedule, right. The next thing I'll tell you is the liking, sharing and engaging of posts should be pretty regular, pretty regular, and it's easy to have your team or sometimes we'll do like a podcast, like a LinkedIn pod if you're on your own to just get on there like sharing and engage. So LinkedIn rewards human interactions, not company interactions. So we don't recommend that you post from the company on your big stuff. Post from the human, for sure, and then the company can like, share and engage or also post later. But yeah, it's actually pretty simple. I wish it was more complicated because then I could sell it. But, like you know, besides I mean, we also have social ghost writers. You can hire that, hire us for this. But it's it's really about the discipline. To get on the phone with this. It's an easy call for me to skip, it's an easy call for me to ignore, but I don't. This is a really important call for me and after a couple years together, amy is my ghost writer. She can sort of like read my mind and she can oh, didn't we talk about this before? And hey, let's think about these in a different way. And then, like, the last part of this is even like kind of sexier. Is that it's all going to become a book. So we've got three and a half, almost four years of these LinkedIn posts which are like just like thought bubbles, right, and someone who is not me is going to go through. Is there like actually right now going through the thought bubbles to sort of put them into some sort of structure and create a book. And it's already basically written, which is kind of great and they're all my thoughts. So Charlie actually is a, for you know, from CS recruiting and I talk about this a lot. She's amazing and she does all of her own LinkedIn. She's very proud that it's like all her all the time and I'm like no way man, like I don't have time for that. So I have no problem sharing that. They're my words, but written by someone who is a writer right, who has time to do it, and all the engagement is fine.

Blythe Brumleve: 26:56

I love that approach because it I empathize with Charlie, because I love that you know, for years it's sort of a badge of honor that you write. Everything you write sounds like you, and so if you try out like you know, even like chat GPT, where it doesn't sound like you, you can kind of, you know, mess around with the verbiage or whatnot. And I was like, well, maybe in theory I was thinking that this could help be my ghost writer for, you know, podcast transcriptions. Can you take this and turn it into a LinkedIn post and it just doesn't say it's just not there yet. So I love that you mentioned that you have a ghost writer, because then they can actually take your words and turn them into something of value for somebody else, instead of just sitting in your head, sitting in an old book and never getting shared with anyone. So I love that you can actually have a process in place that gets those ideas out of your head and gets them out for the world to see.

Kara Brown: 27:49

Yeah, there is a tool that can help. Jasper is the one that we like the best. It's sort of an AI, like it'll take a word giant word document, break it into smaller ones. But you're right, like you still have to touch it. Like you still have to like touch the final product. And what I love about our system is, I mean, the first couple of months that we worked together, I clearly had to go in and edit, but now, like she knows my voice so well that I don't you know, I don't even need to worry about editing the posts. And the team has got it down to a science where, like, they add the emojis and sometimes they come up on my phone and I'm like, did I add this emoji? And I'm like I don't have emojis and they're like totally funny because you can tell like the team member that is like adding emojis is like really young and cute and hip, and then sometimes another team member will edit and they'll be like no emojis. So, yes, someone else adds my emojis.

Blythe Brumleve: 28:43

I probably wouldn't use them, but it's, you know just don't add too many, otherwise you look like a psychopath with like 1400 emojis in one post.

Kara Brown: 28:52

So I think, if you're, I think this is just a carapra out thing, like I think people take it way too seriously. Like, come on, five percent of your market is going to see your posts if you're posting super regularly, right, and it in our space. One of the things I hired a guy from Coca-Cola and I remember one of the things that blew his mind was I told him no, we don't need 3000 people, we need one deal. Like we need one right. One enterprise deal will pay for this whole thing, right or like for us. Like because we're not, we're not cheap, but like one really solid client or two really solid clients at quarter and we pay for ourselves. And so you don't, you don't need enormous exposure, you just need one person who matters to pay attention. And I remember going to a lunch with an old friend who's now a very successful CTO and like doing all sorts of amazing things, and he was like I read every post and I was like you have never liked, you have never shared. He's like and I never will, don't expect me to, okay. So I would imagine that you and I both probably have bigger audiences than either of us know, but you know because of the gentlemen in our lives who are in supply chain and may not, like you know, engage in social. They're probably watching us, but not even like participating, if you will.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:21

So don't do it seriously, it's you know it's fun, it's a you know.

Kara Brown: 30:25

it should be a fun sort of environment to share your expertise.

Blythe Brumleve: 30:29

One phrase I heard years ago that completely changed how I post to social media is no one remembers your content like you remember your content and even like Gary Vee recently is going on a tirade saying like you need to put that same content that you've posted posted again and I did it slightly, posted again and he's like keep doing it until. If you believe it's good, then it's just a matter of getting those eyeballs within the first five minutes of the post. That's all algorithms do is they analyze it within the first five minutes of the post and, depending on the day, the time, whatever people's mood, it could take off and it could be a dud, but keep posting it and keep trying, because no one remembers your content like you do.

Kara Brown: 31:06

I love that. That's a takeaway for me is to go back and do this for a while, like maybe I can take a break for a minute and post some old stuff, yeah.

Blythe Brumleve: 31:16

Yeah, there's actually a great tool that I've started Shield analytics. I don't know if you use them, they will tell you what your most impactful LinkedIn posts are. So now I'm in the process of taking those and copying them into a Google sheet and CSV so I can upload them and just have evergreen content constantly pushing out. It's a pain in the ass to do it, but I think it'll set myself up for the long run. But there's, yeah, that too and that's. You're giving me a lot of ideas here and I'm like, okay, I need to hire a ghostwriter, so I'm going to go ahead and just hire another freelancer to take care of that so I could take some of these things off my plate, so I can do more conversations and, have you know, talk to more smart people like you. And so, as we talked about LinkedIn, what about the cold calling side of things? I was on the brokerage floor as a marketer and I hated hearing to brokers just yell all day and just hammer the phones. I thought what a miserable job to just be on the phone all day. But now it feels like it's kind of evolved into more of, like you said earlier, with the software tools that are available and you know, honing in on it, is it really a cold call anymore? It's kind of warmed up a little bit. So where do you see the cold call playing a role in today's logistics marketing?

Kara Brown: 32:27

Yeah, that's a great question. Or sales, really? So one, phone calls are not dead. Phone calls are definitely not dead. This is a HubSpot number. These numbers are HubSpot numbers, but I really appreciate how much they're willing to share. So HubSpot says that cold dials, like cold, cold never heard from you before just like banging the phones converts to closed deals at a 1% conversion ratio. Not so great, right? So we don't do a lot of cold, cold dialing and warm dials convert at an average of 40%. So we like the 40, that would be great. We don't usually get up to 40 unless they are like hardcore, filled out of form. I'm interested, we're in a buying cycle, right, like that can be super, super high, but dials aren't dead. It's just a matter of who you're dialing and making sure that you understand that they have shown some interest, right? One of the sort of conversations that we have a lot with clients and even our very sophisticated marketers is what is the threshold, right? So you think about a lead score. So a lead score has two things. It has demographic and behavioral information. So the demographic information is is Blythe a broker? Does she have more than 200 million in revenue? Is she currently using a TMS Like what do we know about her company? What is the demographic profile Right? Or a shipper Like what are they shipping? How big are they? What's their transportation span, et cetera. The behavior profile is has this person come to the website? How much have they clicked? How long have we been in a relationship with them, a digital relationship? Have they ever clicked on a Google ad Like show me their whole history in a behavior with us? And one of the decisions that we have to make oftentimes with our clients is what is the threshold? When you set the threshold so low that we're emailing the coldest of the cold and we're gonna make a phone call after one person opens an email, you're basically making cold calls. Like we should set the expectation relatively low. If you're setting the bar pretty high and you're saying we're only gonna make phone calls if they have given us their information freely at some point, if they have shown up to a trade show booth, if there's a human inside our organization that owns this relationship, right, you can sort of set that bar as high as you want, but the phone calls are definitely not dead. And I think one of the sort of best in class things that we do help our clients with is understand where are the gaps in the funnel. So I'm having a text conversation with someone right now where we're talking about you know what's the expectation and how many leads are gonna bring in and, like you know, tell me how many, how many meetings are you gonna set? And I'm like I have no idea. Like, how many are you setting today? And so we did the math and this particular person has five sales reps let's just say they're making 100 dials a day and he's closing about a half a meeting I'm sorry, closing about a half a deal a day. Well, the math on that is a 0.02% conversion ratio. Well, that's not so great, right, like? So, instead of just throwing more bodies at the cold dials, let's try to improve our ability to close those deals when we do get them on the phone. And the only way to do that is through all the way back to the beginning share good news, track interest, follow up right. So sharing good news and then getting an inbound funnel right Like really seeing people come to you instead of you go to them gets really sexy. But that's all about credibility, building awareness, which is time intensive, expensive and sometimes folks don't wanna put the sort of time and energy into it. But cold calls are not dead. People still do them I got one today, actually. But I think warm dials are just so much more effective and if you can put the energy and diligence into creating a really strong pipeline for folks to come to you. It can take a while, but once you do it, those leads are 10 times, 20 times, 50 times as valuable, they'll close faster and they'll be better clients. So we like to track three things Volume, velocity and value. So volume is how many deals do I need to make my number. Value is how much is each deal worth to me and can I go upmarket. And velocity is how fast are they going through the funnel? And that's pretty much all you can affect, right, you can affect one at a time and we sort of treat it like hypothesis, testing right. So we understand the metrics, we understand the deltas, we understand what we're doing today. The goal is to 3x this or 5x this. What are we gonna test right? Are we gonna turn the boys into girls? Are we gonna try a tool? Are we gonna spend some money? Are we gonna do Google AdWords, whatever it is, to try to increase that? So those are the three things that we can sort of flex volume, velocity, value, and sometimes cold calls will be a part of it and sometimes they're just not. So cold calling is not dead, but we much, much prefer warm dials.

Blythe Brumleve: 37:35

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Kara Brown: 38:59

Yeah, it is 100% about math. That's it. I mean, it's just about math, it's about taking and I'm happy to share. I have a pretty sexy model like a financial model, marketing financial model that we put together and I'm happy to share it with anyone who wants to reach out Just to Google to automate, put your own numbers in, but it requires understanding the funnel. So let's just say you have a three phase funnel. You have to understand top of funnel to MQL and MQL to SQL and SQL. To close right, you have a two phase funnel. You need to know the three, like you have to know the deltas, and we work with some enormous companies, enormous companies, and when we ask them what is your top of funnel to marketing, qualified lead delta, they look at us like were aliens and I'm like this is you know you hired a marketing shop, right? Like not a question that she's like you should have known this question was coming and Somebody should know. Like someone somewhere in your enterprise should have some math about how many humans you touched and how many had a meeting with you. And if you don't know that Delta, how are you supposed to know how many had a meeting with you and how many became like really qualified and then how many closed? Right now Everyone knows the closed number, obviously, but backing into that top level of the funnel seems to be a challenge for a lot of folks. So if marketers want to sort of put their stamp on what's happening in sales, make the sales and marketing connection a lot denser, really help out a VP of sales or a CRO. Get into the math, like really get into the math, and start to prove that if you can sprinkle in a little marketing magic, right, that you can start to change some of these deltas. There's a great example from a SaaS based company who worked with a long time ago. It's sort of at the tail end of this. So we started working with them. They had a 92 day from Doc sign to conversion Timeline, so they were a software that handled Like a freight audit payment type thing, and so they had an app so you could sign up for the app. But they didn't get paid Until you use the app right. And they had a 92 day from app sign up to First transit, which is a long time ago. It's a quarter. They waited for a quarter. So someone said, yes, I'm interested, signed up for it and then we take them a quarter to get the cash, which is insane, right. So we sprinkled a little marketing magic in there and we took it down to nine days. And so, as a marketer, you have to know the benchmark right to prove the value. And I think a lot of times Marketers we talked about sort of websites and creative like. We focus too much on what it looks like and is it pretty and we don't spend enough time on the math. And so if marketers really want to understand and they really want to see to the table, the only way to get a seat at the leadership table is to prove the math. Walk in there with this is how we're gonna do this and I've proven it right. So we do a lot of that and we help our clients. I love that too, so we'll like provide them with the math for the board meeting right to show that we've made improvements.

Blythe Brumleve: 42:07

That's awesome, that you help the, the marketers themselves, become like the superheroes and in the boardroom, because it's typically yeah, well, it's typically when the recession like you know, what we're experiencing now or may experience in the future that's marketing is the first thing to get cut. So I know we only have, about, you know, five more minutes with you here because you got to run, but this has been such an impactful conversation and you work with a lot of great companies. But any tips for some of the the smaller to medium-sized businesses out there that want to get their marketing started, that they know it's important. They just don't know where to start.

Kara Brown: 42:38

Yeah, such a good question. I actually had this conversation yesterday, so I will tell you exactly what I told him. He was like I can't afford you. What do I do instead? I was like no problem, I got you right. So number one is Buy HubSpot. Okay, if you don't have it already. But the key is there is a, there is a copy of an asterisk. Don't buy HubSpot from HubSpot. Okay. So if you buy HubSpot from HubSpot, you're gonna pay full retail value and everyone's always like oh, I got a discount, no, you didn't. So buy it from a partner. We're a diamond partner. Any partner like if you're like neighbor, is a partner. Buy it from your neighbor. Even if they do like Econ, it doesn't matter. Like you can buy it from like. Go on the website, find a partner, buy from them. You'll get a discount. Like you'll get extra bells and whistles because you're like with a partner. Buy HubSpot and then start small and they're sort of like very specific things to do. So one is buy the HubSpot tool, fill the HubSpot with your TAM, okay. So go get the records sales and tell I don't love zoom info. I think it's really expensive and technically you have to give the records back when you're done with them it's really weird sales and tell is our preferred tool. Go, get some leads from those guys, stick them in your HubSpot and like, know that they're exactly the right record, right, like you want to go after shippers, get the shipper human at those companies inside your HubSpot. Then Share some good news to LinkedIn posts a month, one blog post and One email newsletter a quarter. Like super simple, right, really, really, really easy. You can outsource the content. Right, there's some really nice shops out there that do a really good job outsourcing just supply chain content. Keep it light. I think one of the mistakes that smaller shops make is that they try to jump in to all the things. Right, and they try to. I'm gonna measure volume, blessing value and oh, kara told me to get the Delta's, but no, no, no, take it slow. Right, share the good news, track the interest in HubSpot and then you've got to follow up. Right, and you can outsource follow up. Give it to someone else on your team. But I would say for the, for the folks that are sort of just getting started, or do I hire someone? The short answer is yes, but that's the formula, right. And the last piece I'll say on this play is if someone walks into your office or if you are working with someone and they tell you that you need a website makeover, run the other direction. Nobody cares about your website, nobody cares. Like, look at Amazon. Their website looks terrible and they're Amazon. Like nobody cares right, as long as it looks halfway decent and it says what you're supposed to like. It says what you do and it's kind of credible. You're fine, especially in the next two years. The next two years are not the time to spend 50, 60, even $20,000 on a new website. Everything I'm talking about can be done without a $50,000 website. So that, that was. That is what I would say to a shop that is sort of getting started.

Blythe Brumleve: 45:36

I Love that you said that, because a good website can get created for less than a thousand dollars. I'm probably less than $500. You don't need to be spending $50,000 on a website, for God's sakes. So thank you. I love that you said that. I know you got a run, so where can folks follow more of your work? See all your great LinkedIn posts, all that good stuff.

Kara Brown: 45:57

Yeah, so we're lead coverage Spell, just like it sounds. I won't spell it out for you. You can reach will or I and the coverage. I'm on LinkedIn, kara Smith Brown, all the time, and feel free to reach out. I'm happy to help. We give lots and lots of sort of free advice for folks that need it, or Just we can take a little cruise through HubSpot and show you what you're missing, etc. But we are so, so dedicated to supply chain and just Thoroughly enjoy spending time in the entire space. Thanks much for your time today. I'm really grateful.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:28

Thank you for coming on the show. I feel like I'm gonna book you for like six more times. I barely scratched the surface of the questions that I had, so we're gonna have to have you back on so we can answer. You know that. The rest of these, but, kara, say thank you so much for sharing your perspective. Really valuable insights. I was, you know, taking mental notes the whole time, so I'm gonna get busy at the math and I'm gonna get busy Outsourcing and I'm gonna get a ghostwriter.

Kara Brown: 46:49

I love it. Well, I wish you all the best on all of your new endeavors are gonna take now. I appreciate that, thank you.

Blythe Brumleve: 46:54

Thank you so much and we will. We'll see at some future conferences here in the future and, like I said, thank you again for coming on the show.

Kara Brown: 47:00

That's a pleasure. I.

Blythe Brumleve: 47:06

Hope you enjoyed this episode of everything is logistics, a podcast for the thinkers in freight, telling the stories behind how your favorite stuff and people get from point A to B. If you liked this episode, do me a favor and sign up for our newsletter. I know what you're probably thinking oh god, another, another newsletter but it's the easiest way to stay updated when new episodes are released. Plus, we drop a lot of gems in that email to help the one-person marketing team and folks like yourself who are probably Wearing a lot of hats at work, in order to help you navigate this digital world a little bit easier. You could find that email sign up link, along with our socials and past episodes over at everything is logistics. Calm, and until next time I'm blithe and go, jags.

About the Author

Blythe Brumleve
Blythe Brumleve
Creative entrepreneur in freight. Founder of Digital Dispatch and host of Everything is Logistics. Co-Founder at Jax Podcasters Unite. Board member of Transportation Marketing and Sales Association. Freightwaves on-air personality. Annoying Jaguars fan. test

To read more about Blythe, check out her full bio here.